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  • Banana Soles

    Hi guys, i am pretty new to the forum. I have been trying to refurb a few smoothing planes and have been working them with some sandpaper on plate glass. I started wtih 80 grit and am working my way up. I was marking the sole with a sharpie to see where the planes were out. It seemed to be going well as i was getting rid of most of the marker when sanding, but when i later checked, I noticed i had somehow started making the planes convexed (higher at the ends). I have been using an article by David Charlesworth that outlines pushing the planes at a diagonal and then switching. I thought this would help me to avoid any mess ups like this, but, apparently it has not. I don't have feeler gauges, but i can spot light coming through on the ends when i put them up to a light with a straight edge. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Brian

    The Houf Workshop

  • #2

    Re: Banana Soles

    Re: Banana Soles

    Slight convexity in the sole of plane can happen with over zealous flattening. Charlesworth admits that his planes have slight convexity from this as well. I'll have to did up his post at UKworkshop where he mentions it.
    link: http://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/h...t34536-45.html
    Your plane soles do not need to be dead flat from toe to heel. Only at the toe, around the mouth and at the heel.

    You will find convexity is a very hard problem to fix with hand lapping and unless the convexity is severe enough to make your bench plane in to a compass plane you may want to leave it alone.
    Last edited by fletcherj; 03-04-2010, 06:07 PM. Reason: Adding link

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    • #3

      Re: Banana Soles

      Re: Banana Soles

      What he said.
      www.grandpastreasureschest.com

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      • #4

        Re: Banana Soles

        Re: Banana Soles

        So as long as they are flat from side to side at those three locations its not much of a concern?
        Brian

        The Houf Workshop

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        • #5

          Re: Banana Soles

          Flat Sole Society?

          I always gotta ask the question:

          What was it about the behaviour of your planes that prompted you to try flattening the soles?

          Choking? Chattering? Can't take a fine cut?

          The only time I ever flattened a plane sole was when I built a plane and the casting or dovetailed assembly actually needed to be flattened. The old planes I acquired just needed the crud and rust scraped off and a bit of sanding to make them smooth.

          My advice is always to clean the plane, hone the iron and try it out. If it works, leave it alone. If it doesn't, get the next victim...

          Darrell
          Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User

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          • #6

            Re: Banana Soles

            Re: Flat Sole Society?

            Hey Darrell,
            It started with just marking up the soles with a marker and then starting to polish them. Two of the three were higher down the middle of the plane (front to back) and the third was already pretty flat. I have been reading Chris Shwarz's book on handplanes and he emphasizes the need for flat smoothing planes. I have a fore plane that i haven't even touched because I realize that it is more for removal of larger amounts of wood and accuracy isn't a big deal. If someone has been doing this kind of stuff for a long time and seems to know a lot about it, I tend to trust them and go with what they say. If i hear a good reason for doing otherwise, I am certainly all ears. I'm a bit of a sponge right now, since I am just getting started with using hand tools. I appreciate your advice.
            Brian

            The Houf Workshop

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            • #7

              Re: Banana Soles

              Re: Banana Soles

              Just like when flattening a board, it's much easier to make a concave board flat than a convex one, as the plane will just follow the convex shape and make a narrower, but still convex surface.

              You might try using a narrower strip of abrasive and running your plane across it to establish a slight hollow (concave) before doing the final flattening. To be clear, if your smoother is 10" long, get a sheet of abrasive 8-9" wide and however long and run your plane over it with the last 1/2-1" of the toe and heel off the abrasive. That way the center of the plane will get worn away and the toe and heel will not. This should produce a slight concave that will be easy to make dead flat.
              Chris Wong
              http://flairwoodworks.com

              If you don't think your work is good enough, maybe you need a Magic Square.

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              • #8

                Re: Banana Soles

                Re: Banana Soles

                THanks Chris. Funny enough, i received the same reply after asking this question to Chris Schwarz. I am a bit confused though. How important is flatness on the sole of a smoothing plane? How flat is flat enough?
                Brian

                The Houf Workshop

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                • #9

                  Re: Banana Soles

                  Re: Banana Soles

                  Originally posted by b_houf View Post
                  THanks Chris. Funny enough, i received the same reply after asking this question to Chris Schwarz. I am a bit confused though. How important is flatness on the sole of a smoothing plane? How flat is flat enough?
                  How long is a piece of string? That's a darn good question. I suppose the only undebatable answer is flat enough to work for you. You want to be able to take a shaving from end to end of a flattened board. A concave sole will make the plane only take shavings at the beginning and end of a board, whereas a concave sole will, if held correctly, take a full length shaving but do little to ensure the surface is flat. If you work the surface with other flat planes first, then work the absolute minimum with your convex smoother, as long as you take full length shavings, you should be okay.

                  It's a matter of tolerances, and that is a very interesting subject.
                  Chris Wong
                  http://flairwoodworks.com

                  If you don't think your work is good enough, maybe you need a Magic Square.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Banana Soles

                    Re: Banana Soles

                    here is a thread from another forum that discusses hand lapping of the sole of smoothing planes

                    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=134751

                    embedded in above thread is a link to Sauer and Steiner ( high end handmade plane makers) outlining, with pictures, how they go at hand lapping the soles of their smoother planes; also a comment by Ron Brese, another maker of pricey hand planes.....

                    what I understand: few planes need/benefit from such ultimate sole flatness; I suspect only your "ultimate" smoother plane, not the ones you use to flatten a surface; there are risks in making the sole of the plane even less flat by "messing around" with the plane sole; technique is important (the Sauer and Steiner suggest some technique) and while you don't need hundreds and hundreds of dollars of special equipment you do need some surfaces that are have 'reference' level of flatness, machinist square (for ensuring sole remains perpendicular to sides), feeler gauge; and the exercise typically takes hours.

                    good luck

                    michael

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